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WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 04, 2013, 07:15 PM

60 on 6: One-room school fame

McLeod, ND (WDAY TV) - Schools that are built today often cost millions; state of the art classrooms with smart boards and iPads.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

McLeod, ND (WDAY TV) - Schools that are built today often cost millions; state of the art classrooms with smart boards and iPads.

As part of our 60th year on the air, we celebrate with a look back on a McLeod, North Dakota school that grabbed headlines across the country: One of the last one-room schools in America and this country's lowest paid teacher, Janice Herbranson, making $6,800 a year.

It was town and time out of a Mark Twain book; tiny McLeod, North Dakota and its one-room school known as Soland #1.

When it closed, just three students remained here at the school. That was May of 1986.

National Geographic and the New York Times came to McLeod to tell the story: One of the country's last one-room schools, taught by the nation's lowest paid teacher, Janice Herbranson.

Janice Herbranson- One-Room School Teacher: “I have been here 16 years and it is a big part of my life.”

In addition to teaching, Janice also owned the Sand Dune Saloon in McLeod, but this is what she loved:

Herbranson: “I hope they remember something good, something I have left them to repay them for as much they have given me.”

One-on-one teaching. She cooked and cleaned the school which once-hosted 16 children. A film-maker worked to tell her story, one of loss and heartache: A husband killed in a plane crash, a son in a fire and Janice's battle with alcoholism; her dedication to AA and sobriety. It would be the kids here, the solace and the quaint one- room century-old school that kept her here in McLeod, all for $6,800 a year.

Janice Herbranson is enjoying retirement, still living in McLeod.

Her son runs the bar she once owned.

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